Tips

Finicky Bluegills

The first fish you probably ever caught was a bluegill. Bluegills have been hooking kids on fishing for years. These fish are notorious for being easy to catch, but what do you do when these fish won’t cooperate? Go weightless.

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Bluegills go through times when they are very fickle and hard to catch. When I encounter this situation, I go very basic in my rigging and it almost always catches them.

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The tackle I use is 6 pound Berkley XL line,  a small bobber, and a  #4 Aberdeen hook. Wax worms or crickets are my bait of choice when bluegill are in a negative mood and won’t bite anything else. The light line paired with this hook allows the bait to fall very slowly. Bluegill can not resist the slow fall of a wax worm or cricket.

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This technique works the best when the fish are located in shallow clear water. The fish need to be able to see the slow fall of the bait in order for it to work. This is also ideal to use in the spring when the fish are spawning.

Bass fisherman talk about “finesse” fishing all the time. This is an ultra “finesse” way to catch bluegill, but I guarantee you it will produce fish when nothing else will.

Tips

My Three Favorites Baits When Bass are on Their Bed

Seeing a bass make a meal of your offering is rare. Visually seeing how a big bass will react to your lure is also very uncommon, but this is exactly what happens when fishing for bedded bass. Fishing for spawning bass presents a very unique challenge. When the water temperature reaches 55 to 65 degrees bass start seeking out spawning areas. This is also when you should start hunting the shallows for bass.

The tube bait comes in many different sizes and colors. The tube is very subtle which makes it a good choice on very finicky fish. This bait is a StrikeKing Bitsy Tube

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The craw is another great lure for bed fishing. Bass don’t like these guys hanging around and will usually eat this style of bait. This bait is a NetBait Paca Chunk.

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Bass can be very finicky when they are on their beds. One color of bait I really like to use is white. I like to see exactly where the bait is in the bed and white allows this. 

Last but not least is the Big Bite Baits 3.5 Warmouth. Big bass love eating bluegill, and this bait looks just like one.  They also hate bluegill because they eat the eggs and their babies. Put this bait in front of the bass and it will either pick it up and move it, or swallow it. Either way, it works.

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Try these few baits next time you encounter bass on their beds. Patience is key when fishing like this, but keep putting one of these lures in the bed and the bass will eventually eat it.

 

Tips

Tough Spring Days

There are times in the spring when the weather outside is picture perfect. Although it may seem like an ideal day for fishing, it can be one of the worst. I would much rather fish in spring on a warm cloudy day with a front moving in. The days after a front moves through and there isn’t a cloud in the sky, are about the worst days to fish.

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I recently spent a gorgeous afternoon on the water with bright blue skies and little wind. I tried many of my favorite spring time lures with no success.

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I fished for almost an hour with no bites. Once I picked up a small suspending jerkbait I started catching some. The exact bait was a Lucky Craft Pointer suspending jerkbait. I did not catch any big ones, but I started getting some bites. I ended up catching over a dozen small bass on this lure.

On this day, the suspending jerkbait was the ticket for me. Tomorrow it might be something completely different. Even though I was able to catch a few, I would’ve had more success on a less picturesque day. But a day on the lake is still better than one doing yard work.

Tips

Light Jigs In Algae

Fishing a lake or pond that is full of algae can be very frustrating. Especially when it’s slimy algae. This kind of algae sticks to everything. There are very few baits that can be used in this stuff. This crankbait is covered in it.  

Here’s a bait I think you will want to give a try. It has worked for me many times in this situations. I like to use a 1/16 ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig. For the trailer I use a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver 3.50 and cut it in half. This gives the bait a small compact profile with enough bulk to keep the bait on top of the algae. If you try to use a heavy jig, it will immediately get covered in algae and be ineffective

Light jigs do require a lot of patience because it takes time to fall to the bottom. Often the bass grab the lure as it is falling. You must be a line watcher; if you see the line pop, or swim off to the side before it hits the bottom, set the hook because a fish has it!

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Next time you encounter this slimy situation, try this technique out. I know it will catch some good ones.

 

Tips

Hand Painted Crankbaits

One of the latest crazes in bass fishing is homemade and custom painted lures. I recently picked up a couple from KMW Lures. KMW offers many different options; from topwater, jerkbaits, and crankbaits in specialized and novelty colors. I was amazed at the detail on these lures.

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Crankbaits are known for not running true out of the package. Some cheap lures will run to one side and must be tuned in order to run straight. There was no reason to tune these baits, they ran true out of the package. They also come with 2x Eagle Claw hooks

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I got two different lure types and color schemes to try. One was the KMW Green Pumpkin Craw squarebill. The other was a KMW Natural Shad jerkbait. The first place I tried the KMW Green Pumpkin Craw squarebill was in my pond. The bass sure seem to like this color as well as I do. They were absolutely swallowing the bait. I can’t wait to hit the lake and try them.

If you want to upgrade some of your tackle and fish with a lure that the bass have not seen before, I think it is worth your investment to try a couple of hand painted lures. I know I was not disappointed with these KMW Lures.

Recipes

Lake to Plate

There is nothing quite like fresh walleye or sauger. I caught a big sauger on Saturday and we cooked it on Sunday. I really wanted to cook it on the grill since it was 60 degrees outside. Unfortunately, when I caught the fish the weather was much worse. It was 35 degrees, but the fish didn’t seem to mind.

I tried a new style of cooking fish. I have cooked fish on the grill many times, but never  in an aluminum foil packet. I also cooked sliced potatoes the same way.

I started out by patting the filets dry. Then, I drizzled lemon juice over the entire fish. Next, I sprinkled many different seasonings on the filets including, salt, pepper, Lowry’s, Old Bay, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. I topped the fish with butter and wrapped it up in the foil.

The potato packs were seasoned with salt, pepper, and Lowry’s. I added two slices of bacon for some extra flavor. If you haven’t tried using bacon on potatoes this way, I highly recommend it!

I cooked the potato packs for about a half hour on the grill, flipping about every 10 minutes. The fish took about 15 minutes total, flipping once. Don’t be afraid to take a peek in the packets when grilling this way. You would hate to open it and have them a little too crispy!

This recipe took about 10 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to cook. Most of the time was dedicated to peeling and slicing the potatoes. The fish took 3 minutes to prepare. I was surprised how evenly the sauger cooked in the packet. The packet also held the fish together, and it did not fall apart when flipping. We will be cooking fish again this way in the future


 

Tips

An App Every Fisherman Needs

I enjoy fishing new bodies of water. I like the challenge of catching fish on a lake that I have never seen. One tool that I use to catch more fish is the Navionics app. This app shows you the contours of the lake, fishing spots, boat ramps, marinas, and the weather among other features. I think it is a wise investment for fishermen and boaters.

The app will cost you $9.99, same as the cost of a new lure. I use this to study lakes before going fishing to identify productive fishing spots. I was surprised how many lake are listed. I was also pleasantly surprised to see all of the very small local lakes are on here too.

It is also very helpful if you do not have a fish finder with a mapping card built in. Simply pull your phone out and see exactly where you are on the lake. It plots your current location while using the app. I know ice fishermen who use this and love it because of this reason alone. They can walk exactly to the spot they want to fish, drill a hole, and start catching fish.

I also like this app because it shows you boat ramp locations and marinas. This is very helpful when driving to a lake that you are unfamiliar with. You can quickly see the ramp locations on the lake and plan your route. It also makes navigating the lake much safer because you can locate the shallow areas before you launch your boat.

If you love to fish or just want to be a safer boater, I would recommend downloading the Navionics app. I know it has helped me.